The Role of the Teacher
Cooperative learning is pupil-centred learning. The teacher is not superfluous, but accompanies and supports the learning process in many ways. The tasks of the teacher vary in the three phases of instruction:
Preparation of teaching
The preparation of cooperative learning phase includes not only the learning content, but the whole learning process. This phase can be very work-intensive. Cooperation by a team of teachers provides relief to individuals and brings personal experience into cooperative work.
The teacher specifies the technical content and coins it in a pupil-friendly language. In addition, form of work, time frame and method of presentation of the results and assessment options should be defined.
Definition of group and roles
Precise definition of the groups extending to designation of the role of individual members is possible. Scope and time frame of the proposed activity affect the plans as well as previous experience and existing structures within the class.
Preparation of materials, space planning
Good planning (possibly division into several small rooms or room change) can reduce the start-up phase significantly and prevent idle time and increasing noise levels. The choice of material offers many options for control. Prepared material should allow enough space for independent learning and discovery. Integration of original materials promotes the training of text interpretation and can be used for differentiation.
Implementation of lessons
After a brief introduction, the teacher withdraws as much as possible. The pupils are expected to work as independently as possible. Errors during the work should not only be tolerated but also seen as important stimuli for discussions and group processes. The main task of the teacher is to observe the groups. The role should not be that of the expert, whose knowledge will be requested if necessary.
Assessment and follow-up
This phase is not only used to back up technical results, but also the reflection of group processes. Evaluation and review are part of the group process and should take place in interaction with the pupils.